Regulations of the European Union on animal welfare are going to cause a reduction in the production of meat from pigs in Spain. Such a prediction comes from a report by the Department of Agriculture of the US Government, which adds that the Spanish pig market will experience a downward trend during the year 2023, both in pig breeding and the production of pigs’ meat.
A lower level of export to non-European markets such as China, continuously high production costs and the imposition of new European Union regulations on Animal Welfare are several of the reported causes of this reduction. The report was created by GAIN (Global Agricultural Information Network) from FAS-USDA (Foreign Agricultural Service – United States Department of Agriculture).
In 2022, Spain remained the EU’s largest producer and exporter of pig products, but by 2023 and 2024 a reduction in the pig census is expected to just under five million tons of pig flesh, and also a reduction in meat production below 55 million individuals killed.
According to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, the price of pig meat has risen by 14% in 2022 due to inflation and production costs. This in turn has caused an 11% drop in pig flesh consumption in Spain, while in the rest of the world it has fallen by 9%.
Pig farmers blame the Royal Decree 159/2023 on Animal Welfare, which imposes stricter requirements than European regulations, forcing an increase in the minimum space available on farms and more requirements in feed, water, feeders, environmental conditions and manipulable material. In addition, measures to reduce the use of antibiotics could have caused an increase in pig mortality in 2022, with a trend that may continue in the coming years.
The exports of pigs were down 4.4% in 2022 compared to 2021, as China has managed to control swine fever and no longer needs to import more pigs. These fluctuations show that to abolish the exploitation of animals in agriculture the issue must be addressed globally, and not just from country to country.